Ellada Evangelou

Executive and Artistic Director 

Ellada was born and raised in Cyprus. She has studied in Cyprus and the United States (BA in English, MFA in Dramaturgy, PhD in Theatre Studies / Cultural Studies). She has worked as a dramaturge, theatre director, workshop facilitator and independent consultant, in collaboration with theatre companies, NGOs and international organisations. 

She is interested in the relationship between theatre/dramaturgy and identity, and works in the intersection of aRtivism and scholarship in post-colonial, post-conflict communities. 

She is co-founder of Rooftop Theatre, member of the Leadership Circle of the IMPACT Project and a 2020 Global Fellow of the International Society for the Performing Arts.

She was the Artistic and Executive Director of the Buffer Fringe Performing Arts Festival 2019, and is happy to be back for Buffer Fringe 2020 and 2021.

Maria Varnakkidou

Creative Director

Maria Varnakkidou studied Modern Drama at Brunel University and then completed her Master’s Degree in Theatre Directing at Royal Holloway University in the UK. 

She has directed the devised theatre performances “ROUTES” (2019), “RAM” (2018) and the performance “IN-decent” (2017). In 2015 she co-directed the devised theatre performance “The Gaze”. In 2012 she curated and directed the exhibition-performance “Vagina Monologues”.

She collaborated as a co-writer, in the feature film “Impressions of Drowned man,” which premiered at the official competition of IFF Rotterdam 2015.

She has also worked as an actress and an assistant director. She taught several theatre workshops in Cyprus and London. As well as, worked as theatre facilitator in several Erasmus+ projects.

Maria Varnakkidou was part of Buffer Fringe 2019 team as a mentee, working closely with the Artistic Director. This year, she will act as one of the Creative Directors in the organization of Buffer Fringe 2020 edition.

Nihal Soğancı (H4C)

Creative Director

Nihal Soğancı is part of the Home for Cooperation team and is currently continuing her PhD in Social Anthropology at the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences in Athens. Her ethnographic research mainly questions how displaced people of North Cyprus collage and montage a home in the post 2003 period as well as on how creative tactical forms and artistic imagination help with peacebuilding. 

Nihal is a writing a chapter in the book Documenting displacement: Inter-disciplinary methodologies in forced migration research, an edited volume by Katarzyna Grabska and Christina Clark-Kazak. Titling the chapter Memories, stories and material traces: Exploring displacement through collaging and participatory art installation, she aims to understand the experience of displacement and to provide a space where participants can critically and creatively question and understand their experiences. She holds an MSc in International Public Policy with a particular focus on Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation from University College London (UCL) and BA in Languages and Translation majoring in French from the University of Surrey, UK. 

She has participated in the Buffer Fringe Performing Arts Festival in Nicosia in 2019 with an interactive installation: The Affective Garage: A collective Junction.

Zoe Kakota

Production Director

Zoe was born and raised in Nicosia. She has studied Fashion Design at Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan, Italy. 

She has worked as a financial officer, project manager in various European projects, light technician (Sound-Lights-Multimedia) in theatre productions and production manager in performances and the International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama.

Zoe is also an active volunteer in the HIV/AIDS field for more than 25 years.

Hayriye Rüzgar (H4C)


Hayriye Rüzgar is part of the Home for Cooperation team since August 2016.  She studied Political Science and International Relations (BA) at Boğaziçi University, Istanbul and Political Communication (MSc) at the University of Amsterdam. During her studies, she volunteered in various public administration institutions in north Cyprus and she was highly active in Cypriot student organizations abroad, leading many initiatives. Hayriye has extensive communication skills and media planning and she is experienced in PR campaigns as well as responding to events and media. 

Ioulita Toumazi

Thinking Partners Coordinator

Ioulita is responsible for the "Thinking Partners" scheme, which entails the matching of the participating artists with a "thinking partner” - a person coming from a different discipline than themselves, who will therefore enhance the creative process by offering special knowledge, experimental wisdom and distinctive perspectives. This cooperation and exchange of ideas aims at bridging any gaps between the arts and other fields.

 Ioulita has earned her BA in Liberal Arts from the University of Kent, for which she did a year abroad at the Sapienza University of Rome and has earned her MA in History of Art from UCL with a first-class distinction. Her dissertation was on the photographs Don McCullin took in Cyprus in 1964 and how their readings and connotations change from the context of the newspaper to that of the gallery.

Antonis Karavalis

Intern/Communications Assistant

Antonis is a volunteering intern at the Home for Cooperation and joined the Buffer Fringe 2020 team as Communications Assistant. He has completed his education in Comparative Literature. He is interested in French literature and his favourite movement is the “Theatre of the absurd”. In September, Antonis will start his master’s degree on the topic “The Dream on Surrealism”. Antonis is ready to absorb any new information and is ready to grasp the opportunity to acquire new knowledge each day. Antonis dreams of a future generation without discrimination and racism. His passion in expanding his knowledge motivated him to join our team and become one of its productive members. 

Mary Spyrou


As a child, Mary lived in different countries all over the world: Cyprus, Greece, America and Brazil. Living in a different environment every now and then, helped Mary to discover her passion for theatre and express herself on stage. Her passion prompted Mary to study acting and she has recently graduated from the University of Essex with a BA in Drama. Her hobbies include writing, playing music (piano and flute) and playing volleyball. Right after she was awarded her Bachelor’s degree, Mary decided to make a pause from her studies, engage in volunteering programs. Mary’s volunteering interests focus on children’s education, welfare and on bringing people together through close collaboration. In her own words, Mary mentions: “I care to assist in any campaigns which promotes bringing together our communities. This is why I am grateful to be a part of the Buffer Fringe Performing Arts Festival 2020 team’’. We are delighted to welcome her in our team and we wish her to enjoy our journey.

Marita Anastasi


Marita Anastasi. Marita was born and raised in Nicosia. In May 2020 she graduated from American University in Washington DC with a BA in History and Dance. Marita is a performer, movement maker and a collaborator currently based in Nicosia. She has performed for an array of artists such as Britta Joy Peterson, Erin Foreman-Murray, Orange Grove Dance Company and Rosy Simas whilst she also presented her own choreographic work. At the moment her research interests revolve around the creation of live performance in museums and body politics. She is also deeply invested in peace building and the development of civil society in Cyprus. In January 2021 Marita will be pursuing a Master’s degree in Dance at the London Contemporary Dance School.